I spent most of the past week at the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) conference in Whistler. After a couple of years of virtual conventions necessitated by COVID, it’s been really nice to get together with my local government colleagues in person again to share ideas and support each other.
Aside from the significant number of resolutions to discuss, UBCM is a great place to learn about what’s going on in other communities and see how they’re addressing some of the same issues we have in Oak Bay. I go in ready to absorb as much information and best practices as I can.
As you might expect, housing affordability is top of mind for almost everyone. There were great examples shared of how local governments have succeeded in accelerating the creation of housing, and taken innovative approaches to tackling affordability. We also talk about how we all have to pull our weight regionally to give people the homes they need. I shared with my colleagues how excited I was about Oak Bay’s Infill Housing Strategy and the potential that it has to provide accessible homes close to downtown, transit and amenities.
I sat in on a “lessons learned” session presented by a group of local governments that had been significantly affected by last fall’s atmospheric River and flooding events. I heard heartbreaking stories of folks still out of their homes a year later and what a massive challenge dealing with the impacts was. Now local governments and residents alike face huge increases in insurance costs in anticipation of these events becoming more common. This is truly the impact of climate change playing out in real time, and it reminded me once again why I’m always committed to advancing sustainability and adaptation initiatives in our community. Very soon we too will have to deal with these kinds of impacts, and we need to have the infrastructure to contend with it.
Just as I said when I made the motion to declare a climate emergency in Oak Bay, and many times subsequently, we need to take action.
One of the best parts of UBCM is meeting colleagues from all over the province and learning about their communities. We’re universally proud of the places we represent and it’s great to hear everyone talk about their goals and hopes. I am always extremely grateful for the responsibility of representing Oak Bay and getting a chance to hype us up!
Just like all my colleagues seeking re-election this time I was excited to take the energy from UBCM home and out on the campaign trail. With your support I’ll be back there next year boosting our great community and picking up ideas to make it better.